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Covid-19 Vaccination: 12 to 15-year-olds

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 23 November 2021

8. What steps his Department is taking to roll out the covid-19 vaccination to 12 to 15-year-olds. (904305)

We have vaccinated more than 1.1 million 12 to 15-year-olds since roll-out began. Vaccine clinics have been held at around 3,500 schools, with 800 more to be visited next week, and there are more than 240 out-of-school vaccine sites in operation. To bolster the roll-out, since 22 October vaccination bookings for any 12 to 15-year-old in England can be made through the national booking service to attend a vaccination site outside school hours. I take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in making this programme so successful.

Humphrey Perkins School in my constituency had carried out all the necessary preparations ahead of its anticipated roll-out of the vaccine prior to the autumn half-term, but on the day before, it was informed that the roll-out would be postponed until 30 November. Please could my hon. Friend set out the reasons for this delay, and can she confirm that this date will not be pushed back again as this could have an impact on transmission between local adults, among whom cases have increased recently?

In late September, the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust school age immunisation service devised an updated schedule for covid-19 and flu vaccinations comprising the remaining schools to be visited. This was to address some operational challenges, reduce the need to postpone sessions at short notice and offer the best experience to the young people receiving vaccinations. All affected schools were notified as soon as possible. As my hon. Friend said, the service will be attending Humphrey Perkins on 30 November, when eligible students with consent will be offered both the flu and the covid-19 vaccines. West Leicestershire clinical commissioning group has confirmed to me that this date will not be moved.

Wales has now joined Scotland in having vaccinated more than half of all 12 to 15-year-olds, Scotland’s figure being 57.7% in comparison with England’s 36.3% of eligible pupils. Given that 10 to 19-year-olds have maintained the highest rate of infections in recent months, what steps are the UK Government going to take to follow Scotland’s lead and improve vaccination further in this age group?

As I said earlier, we have already vaccinated over 1.1 million 12 to 15-year-olds since the roll-out began, which to me is a huge success. We have opened up the national booking service, and provided more opportunities for youngsters to come forward whether within the school environment or outside the school environment. We always look at every opportunity to ensure complete accessibility for people to get their vaccine.